Peyton’s Eowyn Dalbec

Peyton’s Eowyn Dalbec won the 2A girls’ 1,600 with a time of 5:24.65 on the final day of the state track and field championships Saturday at Jeffco Stadium in Lakewood.

LAKEWOOD • High school running events only scratch the surface when it comes to showcasing Eowyn Dalbec’s ability.

After finishing second at the Class 2A cross country meet in the fall, the Peyton junior placed second in the 2A 3,200 and anchored the Panthers’ ninth-place 4x800 relay on Thursday, the first day of the Colorado state track and field championships. She added another second-place finish in Friday’s 800 and got her gold in the 1,600, finishing in 5 minutes, 24.65 seconds, more than five seconds clear of the field, on Saturday at Jefferson County Stadium.

“My coach was like ‘I’m tired of silver. You’ve got to get gold for once.’ I was like ‘Yeah, coach, I’m tired of silver, too,' so I told him I was going to get gold on the one mile,” she said.

Dalbec ran from the front for almost all of the 1,600 meters, even though that wasn’t exactly the plan.

“The strategy coming in was just stay with the front pack the whole time. At the very beginning, I was kind of trying to stay with them. I didn’t want to get too far ahead of them, because I thought maybe they would pull me in and pass me at some point,” she said. “I was trying to follow a strategy, but I just felt like I had enough energy … so I just decided I could leave them.”

The 1,600 was her first high school win, but she’s experienced the feeling in other, more demanding races.

“The longer the race is, the better she is,” Peyton distance coach Anthony Martinez said.

She ran her first marathon at 11, won a half-marathon trail race at the XTERRA national championships in 2018 and took the women’s division of the Colorado Springs Marathon in 2019 in 3 hours, 14 minutes and 36 seconds. Her personal best marathon time is 3:04:30 at the 2019 REVEL Rockies marathon.

“She did that at probably 14,” Dalbec’s mother, Heather, said. “She’s been kind of slowed down because of COVID and all that, but no, she’s crazy. We’ve just been kind of trying to keep her healthy.”

The distance dreams started when Heather was training for her first marathon race. Eowyn kept asking to run alongside mom on training workouts and quickly showed she could handle the distance despite her youth.

“Every day when I was training, she would come out and join me. Before we knew it, I was running 13, 14 miles, and she was kicking my butt and not even tired in the least,” Heather remembered. “I’m like ‘what on earth is up with this girl?’ One day we did a 16-miler just to try it out, and she was still like not winded in the least.”

Toward the end of training, Heather asked her daughter if she wanted to run the marathon, and Eowyn said yes.

“I didn’t know what it was really until I did it,” Eowyn said. “It was a good experience.”

“The year after that, I joined cross country in sixth grade, and that was my first time ever doing competitive running.”

The pandemic was part of the marathon pause. Martinez was another part.

“She’s a freak, but I’m not letting her run marathons right now,” Martinez said. “She’s got to focus on the high school part of it. When she gets older, she can focus on that.”

The long-term goals include ultramarathons — Eowyn’s talking about a 100-miler one day — and a spot in the Boston Marathon. More immediately, however, she wants to win state cross country as a senior, pick up a few more golds at her final state track meet and gain admittance to West Point. To get there, she’s setting aside her love for the marathon, if only momentarily.

“It’s something I would like to do (again) in the future, but like kind of after cross country stuff, because, right now, it’s more important,” Eowyn said. “I need to put marathons aside at high-school age just so I can focus on cross country.”